A controversial mini park, made up of a plastic lawn carpet and some outdoor furniture in downtown Menlo Park, is scheduled to face City Council scrutiny tonight (Sept. 26).
The said lawn carpet, part of a "pop-up paseo" or pedestrian-only greenway initiative to explore if and how a small urban park might work downtown, has recently drawn attention after an employee in downtown Menlo Park had the plastic lawn tested and it was revealed to have elevated bacteria levels.
In a previous council meeting, several local employees raised complaints that the temporary park eliminates car access and six spots of street parking on Chestnut Street, generates noise, and has become a place where transient people gather.
More employees and locals have written in to the council via email expressing similar complaints.
The park was first installed on Chestnut Street at Santa Cruz Avenue in 2014 temporarily and for the summer and fall of 2015. In response to complaints about its impacts on traffic, it was moved to Curtis Street at Santa Cruz Avenue in the spring of 2016.
The park has been used to host city events such as its movie series and the police department's Friday Night Lights events. It also served as a registration area for downtown wine walks.
Among the questions the council has been directed to consider:
● Should a pedestrian-only paseo be considered downtown at all?
● Should another location be considered?
● Should a temporary paseo be considered for seasonal uses?
● Should a more permanent installation be considered?
To give your feedback on the paseo, complete an online survey here.